Dr. Rosen has been featured extensively in television, print, and radio media and has been a commentator on Good Morning America, NPR, and CNN. He has been quoted in hundreds of magazines and newspapers including USA Today, New York Times, Newsweek, Time, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times. See a full list of his appearances here, or explore some highlighted quotations below.
It turns out that there isn’t yet much solid research on the effects of screen time on schoolchildren, but that will soon change. Larry Rosen, a research psychologist at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and an expert on education and technology, told me: “It’s starting to gear up because it’s being clamored for by the educators. They’re saying, ‘Now that we’re doing this, what does this do to our kids?’ ” Rosen’s own studies of attention and multitasking show that pre-teenagers and young adults focus for no more than five minutes before becoming distracted. “There’s also a concern,” he said, “that technology tends to overstimulate your brain,” disturbing sleep cycles and preventing the mind from going into what psychologists call the Default Mode Network — the highly creative state you enter when daydreaming or between waking and sleep.
“iDisorder” is a pleasant surprise — lean, thoughtful, clearly written and full of ideas and data you’ll want to throw into dinner-party conversation. Did you know that psychologists divide Twitter users into “informers,” those who pass along interesting facts, and “meformers,” those who pass along interesting facts about only themselves? Or that 70 percent of those who report heavily using mobile devices experience “phantom vibration syndrome,” which is what happens when your pocket buzzes and there’s no phone in your pocket? (I thought I was the only one.) Or that heavy use of Facebook has been linked to mood swings among some teenagers? Researchers are calling this “Facebook depression.” (And I thought that my children were just having a lot of bad days.)
One strength of “iDisorder” is Dr. Rosen’s cleareyed view of technology and its uses. He doesn’t oppose it. In fact, his view is quite the opposite. What we need, he says, is a sense of restorative balance and self-awareness. It is unavoidable that many of us will fall prey to an iDisorder, he says, but “it is not fatal and we are not doomed to spend time in a mental institution or a rehab center.” By using a few simple strategies, he says, “we can safely emerge from our TechnoCocoons and rejoin the world of the healthy.”
Parents will find this book particularly helpful. Dr. Rosen suggests a whole set of remedies for children’s techno-addiction. Two popular methods are to make sure your child gets a full night’s sleep, and to convene regular family dinners where technology is forbidden at the table. This is especially useful, it appears, in reintroducing children to normal interaction after hours spent in cyberconversation.
“The latest details of America’s Web obsession are found in Larry Rosen’s new book, iDisorder, which, despite the hucksterish title, comes with the imprimatur of the world’s largest academic publisher. His team surveyed 750 people, a spread of teens and adults who represented the Southern California census, detailing their tech habits, their feelings about those habits, and their scores on a series of standard tests of psychiatric disorders. He found that most respondents, with the exception of those over the age of 50, check text messages, email or their social network ‘all the time’ or ‘every 15 minutes.’ More worryingly, he also found that those who spent more time online had more ‘compulsive personality traits.’”
“My concern is that we have become very enmeshed with our technologies … it is affecting every single aspect of our world. It’s gone past the stage of ‘this might be a problem’ to ‘it is a problem for many people.’ Technology today is “so user-friendly that the very use fosters our obsessions, dependence and stress reactions,” Rosen says in his book. “I am not arguing that we are all crazy and technology is to blame. I find, however, that our actions and behaviors when we use technology make us appear out of control. But is our attachment to smartphones, tablets and apps really so bad? “If it interferes with you having social relationships, then it is a problem, and it really is what I consider an iDisorder,” Rosen says.
I know this because Professor Larry Rosen, Chair of Psychology at California State University, says so in his fascinating and troubling new book. People have now become so dependent on their BlackBerrys, iPads, smartphones, and suchlike gadgets, if they are parted from their apparatus, if they can’t check e-mails every ten seconds or scan the internet’s 30 billion images, they experience ‘chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or dizziness’.
The New York Times ran an article entitled As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-Up which included the following quote:
Experts do not agree on guidelines about monitoring. But most concur on one principle: “There is no one technology that will keep your kids safe,” said Dr. Larry D. Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, who writes about raising a tech savvy generation. “The kids are smart enough to get around any technology you might use.”
From the New York Times:
“Larry Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and the author of the coming “Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn,” has also drawn this distinction between what he calls the Net Generation, born in the 1980s, and the iGeneration, born in the ´90s and this decade. Now in their 20s, those in the Net Generation, according to Dr. Rosen, spend two hours a day talking on the phone and still use e-mail frequently. The iGeneration – conceivably their younger siblings – spends considerably more time texting than talking on the phone, pays less attention to television than the older group and tends to communicate more over instant-messenger networks. Dr. Rosen said that the newest generations, unlike their older peers, will expect an instant response from everyone they communicate with, and won´t have the patience for anything less. “They´ll want their teachers and professors to respond to them immediately, and they will expect instantaneous access to everyone, because after all, that is the experience they have growing up,” he said. “They should be just like their older brothers and sisters, but they are not.”
From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
A longtime researcher on the impact of technology, Rosen says we are faced with a new breed of learners for whom doing more than one thing at a time is a way of life. “This is a generation that has multi-tasked from birth and that is what they do from morning to night,” he says. And that generation is now running headlong into an education system predicated on focusing on one thing at a time, a culture clash that´s producing bored students, unread textbooks and frustrated teachers. Students who complained about “death by lecture” now lament “death by PowerPoint” as their teacher´s grasp of technology lags their own. Rosen understands that many of today´s teachers were educated by long lectures and are intimidated by the fast-changing technologies that students take for granted and use hourly, including texting, which has now replaced face-to-face conversation as the No. 1 way teens communicate. But, the California State University professor says, “They didn´t develop this technology. We did. We made it easy for them to communicate in a multitude of ways. We should not be surprised that we give them a tool and they want to use it.”
From USA Today:
“The contrast between Millennials and this younger group was so evident to psychologist Larry Rosen of California State University-Dominguez Hills that he has declared the birth of a new generation in a new book, Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn, out next month. Rosen says the tech-dominated life experience of those born since the early 1990s is so different from the Millennials he wrote about in his 2007 book, Me, MySpace and I: Parenting the Net Generation, that they warrant the distinction of a new generation, which he has dubbed the ‘iGeneration.’ The technology is the easiest way to see it, but it’s also a mind-set, and the mind-set goes with the little ‘i,’ which I’m taking to stand for ‘individualized,’ ” Rosen says. “Everything is customized and individualized to ‘me.’ My music choices are customizable to ‘me.’ What I watch on TV any instant is customizable to ‘me.’ Rosen says the iGeneration believes anything is possible. “If they can think of it, somebody probably has or will invent it,” he says. “They expect innovation. They have high expectations that whatever they want or can use “will be able to be tailored to their own needs and wishes and desires, because everything is.” Rosen says portability is key. They are inseparable from their wireless devices, which allow them to text as well as talk, so they can be constantly connected – even in class, where cellphones are supposedly banned.”
From Time Magazine:
“They’re doing a behavior to reduce their anxiety,” says Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University at Dominguez Hills and the author of iDisorder. That constant search for a hit of dopamine (‘Someone liked my status update!’) reduces creativity.”